Access Ventures’ Reconstruct Challenge is a prize competition based in Louisville, Kentucky that finds and funds innovations that are working to solve some of the community's biggest challenges and create lasting positive impact. To date, the Reconstruct Challenge has funded 11 innovations working to address the affordable housing crisis and barriers to employment. The current Reconstruct Challenges are soon to celebrate 15 new innovations addressing food insecurity, maternal health, and non-emergency medical transportation with three separate showcase events on September 18, 19, and 20th during Startup Week.
The Reconstruct Challenge is built on the belief that innovation has the power to solve some of our biggest challenges and have a positive impact on our communities. This summer Access Ventures partnered with the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) to train students in a design workshop to build businesses that solve community challenges. This marks the second year the design workshop was led by Render, PBC during each cohort in June and July. Students formed teams and competed in a pitch competition that included the Reconstruct Challenge Award.
“Thanks to the Reconstruct Challenge Award, our students learned about building businesses that can make a profit and also help their neighbors in need. Entrepreneurship is all about problem solving, and we want our GSE graduates to understand that some of our communities’ greatest challenges need their entrepreneurial minds to unlock new solutions to those challenges.” - Anne Jewell, president and CEO of GSE.
The two teams awarded the Reconstruct Challenge Award for their respective cohorts of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs demonstrated their ability to apply entrepreneurship with a positive impact on the world around them. These teams created an innovation with a Social Entrepreneurship lens that demonstrates feasibility, scalability, endurance, and impact.
“We love working with young people and it was exciting to see the many great ideas they were able to develop in such a short period of time. Unfortunately, many of these community challenges will still be very much present as they graduate and move into the workforce and we desperately need their leadership in helping to identify new approaches to some of these seemingly intractable problems.” - Rebecca Brown Rice, Director of Product, Render, PBC
Students in both cohorts walked away excited to learn they could launch a business for good that both generated profit and that solved big community challenges. For the June cohort, we awarded the Reconstruct Challenge Aware to Sprout Space.
Sprout Space was a GSE Summer Startup with the mission to supply healthy produce options for people living in food deserts. One of the team members is a native of Martinsville, KY where the geographic and ecological characteristics of the area are inhibitive to growing produce. Additionally, the eastern Kentucky community is located in a food desert with limited access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food options.
Sprout Space is a vertical gardening product that provides consumers with all the necessary supplies and directions to grow produce indoors. Sprout Space marketed themselves towards traditional garden enthusiasts in the upper middle-class market. They devised a number of ways customers could participate in helping to provide access to healthy food options for people living in food deserts.
Sprout Space pledged to donate 25% of profit generated from each product sold towards populations in food deserts -- including offering free vertical gardens to citizens in communities like Martinsville, KY.
For the July cohort, the Reconstruct Challenge Award went to Artlet.
Artlet, an all-female group that tackled the problem of teen mental health by making an art-based community for adolescents to express themselves creatively. Artlet will serve teenagers after school at least once a week, and the program will offer multiple art forms, such as dance, painting, and music.
Join us September 18, 19, and 20 for three nights celebrating this year’s Reconstruct Challenge recipients.
September 20th, 530p at the Mellwood Arts Center for theNon-Emergency Medical Transportation Showcase
“Access Ventures conceived of the Reconstruct Challenge as a new way to identify and support solutions at scale that have not yet had the funding or support to really see if they could move the needle. We are excited to be a part of the three Challenges this year and were excited to include the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs again in this process. We need to be thinking of more intergenerational solutions to these challenges our communities face because they don’t seem to be getting much better and we need these young minds in helping to create a better future.” - Bryce Butler, Managing Director, Access Ventures
About Access Ventures: Access Ventures is an innovative impact multiplier committed to empowering people to live lives of purpose, significance, and value. With a mission to revolutionize the global investment landscape, Access Ventures adopts a blended finance approach and a one-pocket mindset, proving that financial return and social impact can coexist. By nurturing the next generation of changemakers and enhancing access and agency for all, Access Ventures is dedicated to creating a world where everyone thrives. Learn more at www.accessventures.org.
About Render, PBC: Render is an innovation studio that partners with organizations to solve their most challenging problems. They work with organizations that are focused on improving the lives of others and a desire to create a positive impact. As a certified B Corp and Public Benefit Corporation, they default to impact while working towards human-centered solutions. Learn more at workwithrender.com
About Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs : GSE identifies, inspires, and empowers Kentucky’s future innovators. Our student programs are free, thanks to strong partnerships with the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet and the Cabinet for Economic Development, along with support from private donors and public foundations. Learn more at kentuckygse.com
Sprout Space Team: (June Session Winner)
Howra Al Garawi Jefferson County Fairdale High School
Keaton Carr Madison County Model High School
Kassidy Evans Boone County Walton-Verona High School
Hannah Pittman Oldham County Oldham County High School
Dakota Ward Martin County Martin County High School
Allison Lopez Boone County Ryle High School
Kirshika Lungani Jefferson County Ballard High School
Gabriella Ostrander Leslie County Leslie County High School
Jordan Puitz Kenton County Dixie Heights High School
Ruby Robinson Daviess County Daviess County High School